A Vision upon the Fairy Queen

By Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618 Sir Walter Ralegh
Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
    Within that temple where the vestal flame
    Was wont to burn; and, passing by that way,
    To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love, and fairer Virtue kept:
    All suddenly I saw the Fairy Queen;
    At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept,
   And, from thenceforth, those Graces were not seen:
For they this queen attended; in whose stead
    Oblivion laid him down on Laura’s hearse:
    Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce:
    Where Homer’s spright did tremble all for grief,
    And cursed the access of that celestial thief!

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Poet Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Heartache & Loss

 Sir Walter  Ralegh


Before his execution for treason, Sir Walter Ralegh won fame as an explorer of the New World — both for voyages to Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina (whose capital is named after him), and to Venezuela in search of El Dorado, the mythical city of gold. Also a scholar and a gifted lyric poet, Ralegh brought glory to Elizabethan England along with the potatoes and tobacco he is said to have introduced there.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Heartache & Loss


SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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